Game Notes #20
Twinks 5, A's 4 (Box Score)
- Game Score 43 - Livan Hernandez looked strong for 4 innings but couldn't quite keep Oakland's wolves at bay. For one thing, the A's lineup did what they do best: made him earn each match-up. In six plate appearances prior to the fifth had Hernandez throwing five or more pitches. The second inning Ryan Sweeney dinged Livan for an 11-pitch at-bat. This certainly could have contributed to his decline later in the ball game. With one out in the fifth, Hernandez gave up back-to-back singles to Bobby Crosby and Chris Denorfia (who by the way, has one of the game best incomplete fu machu's in the game) but go the other Cretin graduate on the field to ground out to Morneau. With runners on second and third, the surging Kurt Suzuki singled home both runners to bring the game within one. The fifth it was visible that Hernandez was laboring, but by the sixth Hernandez was on fumes. Walking Jack Cust, the strike out, walk or home run guy, coaxed a walk then Emil Brown crushed a two-run home run to put the A's up by one. After a ground out by Ryan Sweeney, Denorfia hit a two-out double and Hernandez was saved by The Coliseum's vast foul grounds when Jack Hannahan popped out to Mike Lamb.
- Twins are 5 and 0 when Hernandez's starts - The results are very desirable there is no question about it. Sure, everything about him is unsexy, including his strike out rate (8%) and bulbous head capable of stretch the hole in a cashmere sweater, but 5 starts and 5 wins is nothing to shake a stick at. Livan is averaging 50.4 as a Game Score over the course of those 5 starts which has undoubtedly led to several "lucky" wins. Three of those starts have been below 50 (the equivalent to a quality start) but the offensive production (5.36 runs of support) assisted in lifting the team to victory. Unlike Nick Blackburn who has pitched better in his outings (averaging 54 in 4 starts) but has been one run of support lower than Hernandez (4.11) and has been failed twice by his bullpen leading to a 1-1 record and a 1-3 record when starting. Again the results speak for themselves but I would speculate that Hernandez could hit a rough period as the run support drops.
- .154/.154/.179 - Last 9 games for Carlos Gomez. He is 1 for his last 18 with 7 strike outs and no walks. Stats blog indicated prior to this drought that without his speed, Gomez might be hitting under .150, after all his bunt and infield hits had been leading the league. Currently Gomez has 9 infield hits with 5 successful bunt attempts however this is growing more and more worrisome as he is offering at bad pitches and terrible counts as well. Gomez opened the first 11 games of the season by hitting .292/.320/.417 and keeping pitchers and infielders off-balanced with those well-timed bunt singles. "When I'm on base, it's like I got one run already," Gomez said. "I can steal second, and then the other team's got problems. I'm on second and it's a groundball, I'll be at home." While always a threat once he gets to the bathpaths (9 stolen bases on 10 attempts) but is having a tumultuous time reaching base. Judging from the pitch f/x sequencing, you will notice that pitchers have begun throwing breaking and off-speed pitches low and away to Gomez that he has not been able to lay off.
- 10-for-14 - Craig Monroe lifetime off of the A's Joe Blanton now thanks to a 3-for-3 night at the plate including the tying home run in the 7th - his third RBI of the night - and was a triple short of hitting for the cycle. Nice use of statistics Gardy: "Numbers. They can fool you sometimes. And sometimes they tell the story that you have to play out," Gardenhire said afterward. "Tonight was one night where he's had some success [against Blanton], so you play it out. It's just one of those crazy things in the game. No one knows how it happens. But he was on the ball."
- .267/.333/.267 - Jason Kubel's line against left-handed pitching after singling off of Alan Embree to score the go-ahead run. The sample size is terribly small but Kubel has proven somewhat effect against left-handed pitching in his 18 plate appearances against the wrong handers. Meanwhile, in 16 plate appearances against left-handed pitching this season, Craig Monroe is hitting just .071/.188/.071. It will be interesting to see how Gardy handles left-handed starters when Michael Cuddyer returns from the DL.